Teaching Mobile Development (please donate)

The short version:

The high school I attended is trying to raise $25,000 for a new computer lab and to provide students with a class in mobile app development. This is seriously awesome and I’m hoping the Internet can help make it happen.

Go here to donate. Make sure to write in Mobile App Development in the description line. Even a few dollars would make all the difference.

The slightly longer version:

My family moved to Louisiana from Portland, Oregon when I was thirteen years old. Beside it being a hard adjustment culturally, the most difficult part for me (and my siblings) was that the schools in the town we moved to were woefully behind the ball. The under-funding was such that students were required to bring enough cleaning supplies to keep the school clean for a year (Windex, paper towels, tile cleaner, etc.). Textbooks were out of date, school supplies were mostly non-existent and the teachers, bless them, just didn’t have the resources available to be as effective as possible. The result was either students who weren’t challenged enough or students who needed more attention but couldn’t get it.

In tenth grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Sullivan, pulled me aside and told me that she was submitting me as a prospect for a public school in Natchitoches, Louisiana: The Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. The school is publicly funded and at the time only cost about $1000 per year (half that if the family was in a lower bracket, and totally free if even lower than that). Students live in dorms together on a college campus and attend classes taught by people with PhDs and Master’s degrees. The school was four hours away from home for me, which meant I’d only come home once a month or so. Basically, it was college before college. I told Mrs. Sullivan to send in the Handicapped Student form to the state (this was how you applied to LSMSA back then) and went home to convince my parents.

Luckily for me, they needed very little convincing and I was allowed to attend. From day one, the school changed everything for me. I was no longer bored. I never skipped class. I was never the smartest kid in class. I learned how to do my own laundry, to manage my own time and, I think most importantly, I learned how to learn. Before that school, my view of learning was mostly memorization and regurgitation. I’d gotten so good at that, that I nearly washed out in my first semester at LSMSA. Not one class required it. I remember getting my first English paper back with a big red ‘D’ on it (along with very detailed line-by-line notes from Dr. Babcock and simultaneously being elated and scared out of my mind. At the end, he wrote something about five paragraph papers being bullshit.

I worked harder in the two years I was at LSMSA than I’ve ever worked academically. I’d even pit those two years up against the four I spent in university afterwards. Being publicly funded, they do a lot with the little they receive. Faculty and staff regularly interact with students - office hours, providing home-cooked meals and even taking students to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, etc. It’s an amazing place and without it, I’m not sure I’d be anything close to who I am now. I owe it a huge debt.

That’s why I’m donating to help fund the new Mobile App Dev class they want to start. That and the fact that developing mobile apps is on the verge of becoming a required skill, not just to program, but to start companies. And if there is one place that’s likely to generate entrepreneurs, it’s LSMSA. The students there are bright, curious and, to be honest, are already probably teaching themselves how to develop and design for mobile. This is a chance to give them a boost. Your donation will go a long way toward equipping the next generation of engineers and startup CEOs. Please consider donating.

Go here to donate. Make sure to write in Mobile App Development in the description line.


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